Archive for the ‘Random stuff’ Category

Christmas

december 29, 2010

After wrapping up the business year of 2010 which means catching up with months of book-keeping and other boring paper work  with the invaluable help of Silver…

accountant cat

… it was finally time for Christmas! But Christmas Eve (which is the day we celebrate in Sweden) is also the birthday of my nephew Daniel. Our most important Christmas tradition is to spend it with my sister’s family.

So Christmas doesn’t start until after 3 p.m. It’s entirely birthday until then.

If you persuade a teenager to be Tomte (Santa Claus) you may end up with a heavy metal one. Well, the neighbours downstairs with younger children wanted a tomte, and why not let him do the job upstairs as well :-):

We had a great Christmas ! Nice and peaceful. Not too extreme food excesses – only the most indispensible traditions (like herring and ham). At least that’s what we thought. Oddly though, it seems that the waistline is stretched out anyway…

Not too many gifts, but those that we got were very appreciated. Some examples:

Vippson examines his present

Tilda's opens her present

Silver wrestles with his present

December fun

december 16, 2010

So much fun going on in December… Here are just some examples:

After months of preparations we finally had our Christmas Concert. It went very well. I believe that we had a  good mixture of up-tunes and ballads, traditional and modern songs, chorus and smaller groups, fun and serious songs.


Our quartet sang too, and here’s the music committee (directors and section leaders) singing Ave Maria:

Fredrik’s new school, Samskolan, had their annual Lucia dance, where all the students do Swedish folk dances dressed in folk costumes. I must confess I thought this might be a bit nerdy, but they were really good – they did some quite complicated dances – and they actually looked very nice in their costumes. And they seemed to have a great time!

And since I like our Lucia tradition, I was pleased that they also had a Lucia pageant . And a good one too!

Personally I don’t feel too stressed up about Christmas. My sister’s family will come here and we always have a great time. There aren’t really any ”musts”. Except for some serious Scrabbles tournaments of course.  Louise has already taken care of decorating the house. Here she’s baking Lucia rolls. Yummy!

There has even been time for some other fun stuff – like the last round of the style jumping series. Little Grandessa was really wild and crazy (probably because of the very cold weather) when we were warming up – kicking, bucking and running around like a maniac. I was actually a bit worried for a while. But once  in the arena we pulled our act together, flew over all the fences and got our third clear-round. Very happy :-)!

Waiting for the ready-signal

So much fun already. And more to come…

Life changing moments

december 2, 2010

Some days are very special because something happens that will change your life for ever. Today, exactly 17 years ago was such a day. It was a cold winter day, just like today and snowflakes big as quarters fell outside the window. Before that, my only responsibility was myself. But that day a new man came into my life. A very tiny one.

And boy, was that a lucky day! Isn’t it amazing that I happened to get the most beautiful, talented, intelligent and wonderful baby in the world?

Here he is with his buddy Erik, one and a half year later:

And time flies. Have you seen this ad? The boy does look a lot like Freddi.

Not even I can claim that he’s a baby anymore. But the most wonderful 17 year old for sure.

Who cares about customers?

november 16, 2010

You would think that in a global economy like ours, if you buy a global brand of some product it would work anywhere on the globe wouldn’t you? Well, that’s  not how it works. I bought a HP printer in the US and thought it would be a piece of cake to bring it to Sweden. But it turned out I can’t buy the printer cartridges anywhere!

3 American and 2 European cartridges - can you see the difference?

Even though there are a million different versions of cartridges for different printer models, there are also different cartridges for the same printer model in different regions of the world! So I have to get the printer de-regionalized, whatever that means…  That’s necessary in order to be able to use European cartridges in my American printer. So I turned to HP’s helpdesk. They always promise to get back to you within one business day. Which they usually do. If you’re lucky, a correspondence with 10 mails only takes two weeks. Unfortunately it didn’t work after our long mail conversation.

Finally they revealed to me that there is actually telephone number I can call instead of this tedious mailing. And after following step-by-step instructions over the phone, I hopefully waited for the magic code that would be mailed to me. It didn’t come.

So I contacted them again. And we went through the whole procedure again. And now I’m waiting again…

My conclusion is, HP doesn’t only make very expensive cartridges and make it very complicated by having so many versions. They also want to make it complicated to bring their products over the borders. And even more complicated to reach their help desk. Who cares about customers? They’re just a nuisance anyway, aren’t they?

Right now I really need my printer for my work. Very frustrating. I wish I could just forget about the whole thing, find a sunny spot and relax just like Mr S:

I'm an expert when it comes to chillin'

 

 

Too much and too little

november 8, 2010

Dear readers,

you are so wonderful who keep checking in on me even though I’ve been the most negligent blogger lately. I can tell from the counter on my blogg site that I actually had an all time high in visitors yesterday (!), even though it’s been a week since my last post.

I will shape up – promise!

I have not been neglecting my blog because nothing is happening. It’s actually the other way around. It’s just been too much work, too much coughing (a stubborn cold that just won’t give in), too many new songs to learn for the Christmas concert (has it become more difficult to memorize lyrics and music lately…) and too much November greyness that drains all energy. Hence too little blogging.

But a fun-filled week-end with a big party with family and friends, horses and quartet practise reminded me of what a lucky person I am.

See ya!

 

Having a Volvo in Volvoville

oktober 30, 2010

Time to say good-bye to my Saab from 1993, my Dad’s old car. Good old PNY has been a good pal, hardly ever ”ill” or reluctant to work. When my Dad bought the car it was brand new and he was very proud of it. And I’ve never listened to anybody who told me that it’s uncool or an old man’s car. I’ve always liked it!

Good old PNY

But I’ve finally realized that it’s just a matter of time before the great demise starts, and in addition I’ve been talking about getting an environmentally friendly car for years. But there were a lot of tricky questions: How do you combine environment with a car that’s big enough to fit four tall people? And what type of engine – gas, hybride, diesel, electricity? But the selection narrowed down more and more as I tried to figure out the equation and in the end there were a couple of cars that were pretty similar.  And the winner was Volvo V50. Fuel consumption is 0.4 liters per 10 kilometers (0,017 gallons per mile) which is less than half compared to old PNY.

I’ve never bought a new car. This is something I thought they only did in TV-commercials:

Tada! The dramatic unveiling!

Even though I think my old car did a very good job, I must confess that it’s fun to drive a new car. It’s so smooth and quiet! And has a lot of clever devices. There sure has been some product development in 17 years…

...and we're off!

So one question remains. Having a Volvo in Volvoville – will I be able to find my car in a parking lot?

 

Carpe Diem with a ”cat walk”

oktober 20, 2010

Fall has a certain element of melancholy, doesn’t it? You know that soon enough the fall storms will sweep off all the leaves and leave everything grey and beige.

A cougar on the hunt

I had some errands to do and put on  my jacket, which Silver always interprets as an invitation to go for a walk. He started purring an meowing happily, so I didn’t have the heart to just leave him. Instead we went for a little stroll and took the opportunity to take a closer look at what’s still growing in the garden. Some of the roses are still doing very well.

The grapes in the green-house are actually quite tasty, but nobody bothers to harvest them.

But the apples… They are supposed to be some very rare kind. But that doesn’t help. They don’t taste good so nobody eats them. But they look delicious. Weird.

Actually, there are still a lot of pretty colors out there. Thanks for reminding me of that, Silver!

 

Fall is here

oktober 4, 2010

I’m so excited about my new camera, that I even read the manual. So I brought for a couple of walks in the beautiful Delsjö forest.

Unfortunately, my back and shoulders hurt so bad, so I could not work with my computer for several days. But it’s a good thing that I actually took the opportunity to take some nice walks. Soon enough there will be horisontal rain and slushy snow…

rose hips

Lake Delsjön

Old couple enjoying the afternoon sun

Lilla Torps Trädgård (plant shop) is closing down in two days. The owners are retiring after 40 years and nobody is taking over. A little bit sad.

Crowds, celebrities and sore feet

september 27, 2010

The annual book fair is a great event every fall here in Göteborg. This year is no exception. And every year I tell myself that NEXT year, I will plan much better ahead, decide who to meet, what to see and what to do.

It’s not just about books. Of course there are publishing firms and writers presenting their latest books. But there are also international charity organizations,  IT companies presenting programs for libraries, magazines, TV-stations, and much more.

My journalist friend Florence has started a publishing firm. Very impressive! Here she is discussing a new book with the author and some interested people:

And there are always a lot of celebrities – and even more semi-celebrities. The latter are more visible, simply because they are more interested in being noticed.

Jonas Hallberg. Famous for... I don't really know. But you see and hear him often in the radio etc

Alexandra Pascalidou, journalist and author of a cook book

Märta Tikkanen

Even the king was there:

OK. Not REALLY the king. But close enough 🙂

They had an interesting theme this year: African writers. There is a lot of prejudice in that area. African writers are a really diverse group and most of them don’t fit in the traditional stereotypes. I listened to some of them talking about their books. Since these lectures were in French, I really had to sharpen my ears and focus. Luckily they were polite and spoke very slowly and articulated.

Many african writers this year

Many interesting things to check out. But after a couple of hours my feet and ears were sore and pushing my way through the packed sea of human bodies got very exhausting after a while. Next year I’ll be better prepared and draw a map of where to go and what to do 🙂 !

Model for a day?

augusti 23, 2010

It’s spreading like a wild-fire? Have you seen all the new profile pictures on Facebook, where people are looking seductively at you from above a mirror?

I got at least ten phone calls from sales women who wanted to give me an amazing introduction offer: to be ”model for a day”, get make-up by a ”make-up-artiskt” and have my pictures taken by a ”photographer”. But it wasn’t until one of my friends asked me if I wanted to tag along with her and and another friend that I actually said yes.

So we boldy stepped into the fancy Model Lab. And my God, what a business! The place was packed with people hoping to look marvellous. Middle-aged women, an entire family, teen-age girls. OK. I don’t want to be a boring whiner. It WAS fun to do this because I was doing it with two good friends. But then again, with good friends you can do pretty much anything and still have fun. And OK, we did look A BIT glamorous on some pictures.

Woman with make-up sitting backwards on a chair

But the make-up looked pretty much like what we wear on stage with our choir and put on ourselves. Make-up artists??? I don’t know. And the photographer had big problems looking through the camera and actually catching the model-wannabees in the picture:

Woman with no legs standing off center

(Granny is a way more advanced photographer than these young girls – sorry girls!) There were a number of poses we were supposed to strike, with one picture taken of each pose. Some of them were so complicated that our long arms and legs got all tangled up. And knowing right from left is not one of my special talents… We ended up laughing hard at our pathetic efforts to pose like models. This is one of the less complicated ones. But seriously, how often do you stand like this? Check out this weirdly cropped picture:

Left arm over head, no right, no left...HELP!

It took almost six hours. Mostly waiting time. Waiting for make-up, waiting for photo-session, waiting for the pictures, waiting for paying… Pernilla, didn’t have time to wait and left. And that’s when we found out that it’s not at all for free if you don’t but any pictures. Then you have to pay for the make-up instead. Very tricky. So we got some pictures for her anyway.

OK, OK, we do have some pictures that are more glamorous than what we ordinarily take. At least more make-up. So now I have a new profile picture on Facebook. And they cost less than going to a real photographer. At least if you only buy 2-3 pictures. Still. It’s a smart business idea. But ethical?

And it’s not over here: If you give Model Lab 12 names with telephone numbers, you get one of your pictures for free. And before I knew it I had scribbled down 12 names of good friends. I sold my good friends for a free picture! I will burn in hell for that. Maybe. But I’ll be in good company.